Social Services

Illinois vs. UCLA in a different sort of contest: Fight hunger

CHAMPAIGN — Weeks before the University of Illinois Fighting Illini meet the UCLA Bruins in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl on New Year's Eve, their fans are squaring off in a contest of their own.

And the stakes are high for the Eastern Illinois Foodbank.

Congolese priest impressed by C-U

URBANA — Father Zephyrin Nsimba came here from the Congo and likes what he sees.

A mission worker for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kinshasa, Nsimba came here to meet with and celebrate Mass with Congolese residents — he said there are many here — and help organize a massive clothing drive for his troubled nation.

Spirit of the season: Drug court clients help kids, and a toy drive under way

URBANA — The 60 or so clients of the Champaign County drug court program will be helping people less fortunate this holiday season.

Drug court coordinator Del Ryan said instead of exchanging gifts among themselves, the clients have agreed to bring gifts for the children who live at Restoration Urban Ministries, 1213 Parkland Court, in northwest Champaign.

Church plans dinner for all on Christmas Day

CHAMPAIGN — If your Christmas day is looking lonely or bleak, here's an invitation that might brighten the outlook.

First Christian Church will serve a free holiday turkey dinner, complete with caroling, decorations and entertainment, and the invitation is open to anyone who might otherwise be alone on Christmas or can't afford a holiday meal.

Gift idea: Donate meals in friends' names

CHAMPAIGN — Many of the people on your holiday shopping list may already have enough stuff, but not everybody in East Central Illinois has enough to eat.

So once again, the Eastern Illinois Foodbank is offering the opportunity to give meals on behalf of your friends and loved ones, instead of buying them something.

Big Brothers Big Sisters using chocolate to raise money

DANVILLE — Big Brothers Big Sisters of Vermilion County is launching its annual Bowl for Kids' Sake fundraiser in a new and decadent way.

The public is invited to Big Chocolate Obsession, which will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. today (Thursday, Dec, 1) at the Cooks Workshop, at 38 N. Vermilion St., in downtown Danville.

Former city official is new Habitat executive director

CHAMPAIGN — A former city administrator and Habitat for Humanity volunteer has decided to make home-building work her full-time job.

Sheila Dodd, a city of Champaign employee for 20 years, left her position as a grant compliance administrator on Nov. 1 to become the executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Champaign County.

Reaching out to aid youths in Rantoul

RANTOUL — A program aimed at helping young people has started in east Rantoul.

The Rantoul Project, operated by Community Service Center, will serve youths in the Pheasant Ridge subdivision at 640 Autumn Fields Lane.

The project mirrors one that was operated on Hobson Drive at the now-closed Autumn Glen apartment complex and most recently at Rantoul Youth Center.

Backpacks full of items to be given out in December; help sought to meet growing need

CHAMPAIGN — On a cold, rainy November day, Charlesetta Hopkins showed up at the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen for a hot meal and some warm company.

Hopkins, 25, used to be homeless, but now lives with relatives in Urbana. Still, she relies on Daily Bread to get by — and more.

"When I come here," she said Tuesday over a bowl of chicken noodle soup, "I feel like someone."

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